As the Obamacare enrollment numbers moved from so horrible that the White House had no details to sufficiently tolerable that details were suddenly everywhere, supporters of the Affordable Care Act began to make a provocative assertion.
They said Obamacare is working.
Sadly, I agree. It is stripping people of the insurance they had wished to keep. It is wrestling health care decisions away from the doctor-patient nexus, burying them in the pages of an unfathomable law that even its advocates cannot untangle. And it is boosting private insurance costs, as companies face the unfunded responsibility of covering countless additional conditions among countless patients.
Working like a charm. This was precisely the plan. If Obamacare burrows through our health delivery system as it has shown an early aptitude to do, millions will eventually throw up their hands and surrender to the single-payer system, which is the pipe dream of many who have fought for years to hand our lives over to ever-expanding government.
So if the effects of Obamacare working are not exactly working out for millions who still dislike it, other Obama agenda items invite similar framing.
I would suggest his entire agenda is working. But not in the sense that we have come to appreciate throughout history, with Americans actually prospering in a strong country amid a peaceful world. The Obama years are a success when gauged by the barometer the president uses to evaluate every issue: his worldview.
Under that metric, he is batting a thousand.
He has sought to damage the private insurance marketplace to create demand for government solutions in health care. He has succeeded, no matter that millions are skeptical and dissatisfied, including health care providers looking at leaving the field.
He has relieved America of the obligation to lead on the world stage, scoffing at the exceptionalism that once earned us respect. This too was on purpose, the act of a president who feels America has been too heavy-handed, with insufficient moral basis to assert itself globally. No matter that tyrants from Russia to Iran to North Korea to Syria are emboldened by this passivity.
He has suffocated the engines of job creation with overregulation, a failed stimulus, minimum-wage class-envy poisons and hostility to domestic energy exploration. But again, this is according to plan. Voters living on food stamps are a far more reliable Democratic voter base than those climbing the socioeconomic ladder with their own paychecks. No matter that this has stagnated an economy that longs to run on the engine of free markets.
And he has dangled the prospect of citizenship in front of millions of illegal immigrants who cannot wait to cast votes for the political benefactors who will supply them with limitless government benefits. No matter that this will exponentially increase social program costs. That’s the idea.
So, from health care to foreign policy to jobs to immigration, I am prepared to identify the Obama years as a thorough success. But not through the lens we usually use. Remember the snarky questions asked of conservatives in 2009? We were asked if we wanted Obama to succeed. We replied that we wanted America to succeed, not any individual president, and that the success of his agenda was not congruent with the definition of a successful country — a robust economy, a strong but limited government that respects our liberties, a foreign policy respected by terrorists and tyrants.
Perhaps after five years, that distinction is a little clearer.
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